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my worms are gonna get hungry Empty my worms are gonna get hungry

Post  p14shooter on 8/10/2020, 5:06 pm

So, I have read the highlights of the forum. Done my search on the internet. Borrowed books from the library. Started my worm bin but I think my worms are gonna starve.
There is only 2 of us in the house, and we really do not produce a lot of scraps that I can use for feed. I figure that I would like to grow the colony to 2000 but that is 7-14 pounds of food a week depending on who you listen to. We can just not support that amount of food scraps. I have read what I could about feeding and I still have not found the answer to my question. The question is, can I add plants to the bin such as pulled beans, peas, squash etc and feed them fall leaves. Doing that, plus my scraps I should be fine. Can I do this? Can I feed them mostly carbon? If not, I may have to resort to stealing pumpkins off my neighbour's step and scouring the woods for crab apples.

any help is of course appreciated.
Paul

I should mention that I am in zone 5a so it is an indoor set up and that currently I only have about 4oz of worms so for now, things are good.
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Post  OhioGardener on 8/10/2020, 6:51 pm

It is pretty easy to keep the worms fed, P14S.  I would not use plants, though. Remember, the microbes in the worm bin break down the food source, and then the worms consume it.  Red Wigglers consume half their body weight each day, so if you have 2# of worms, they would consume 1# of food scraps per day.  If you don't have that much food scraps, shred some cardboard and soak it so it is completely damp (not wet, just damp), and put that in the worm bin. The worms love cardboard, especially the glue used to make it.

A couple articles you might want to check out on this subject:

https://thesquirmfirm.com/feeding-your-red-wiggler-composting-worms/

https://thesquirmfirm.com/what-can-red-wiggler-worms-eat-infographic/

https://thesquirmfirm.com/what-do-red-wiggler-worms-eat/

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Post  p14shooter on 8/10/2020, 8:45 pm

I am usually not this dense. It must be my previous assumptions that are not allowing me to understand what I am reading. So please educate me. I am taking you for your word of experience that I can not feed plants, but can feed leaves and cardboard to my heart's content. I work in a grocery store so cardboard is not an issue. But if you can help slap some sense into me as to why plants are a no go, while grass clippings are a go (in moderation as I know they clump up) based on my lack of understanding of:

In a compost pile, leaves are considered a brown and plants a green as well as kitchen scraps a green. So if kitchen scraps are a green and can be fed to my little buddies, Why not green plants? Both a banana or apple is alive just like a freshly pulled bean plant. I guess technically as soon as they are picked/pulled they are dying.

I realize that you have already said no to the above, I just dont understand what the green difference is. What if those bean plants were thrown onto the leaf pile to dry/decompose a bit with the leaves before adding to the worms. I presume then that they are now not a full green but not quite a brown so add a bit of moisture and they should be good now?

And just to solidify my lack of knowledge. As leaves can be used for bedding, and they can be used for food (I know that any bedding is consumed anyway) then in theory I could just have a worm bin of leaves and the end result will be just as good as those of you who do a proper job of 40%green and 60% brown?

This is one of those circumstances for me that reading is not educating me and I am relying on experience telling me.

I never woulda thunk that the lowly worm could cause such headache

Paul
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Post  OhioGardener on 8/10/2020, 9:19 pm

Paul, I can only speak from experience, and not education - us electrical engineers don't get much training on raising worms.  Mad   The worms eat decomposing food sources, which is being processed for them by microbes. This symbiotic relationship between the microbes and worms is very important, and we don't want to do anything to disturb/destroy it. Grass clippings and green plants do not easily or quickly decompose. And because they have a very low C:N ratio, their anaerobic decomposition process off-gases ammonia which is not good in a worm bin. On the other hand, if you put the plants & grass clippings in a compost tumbler and start composting them with the proper C:N ratio, you will easily generate some good worm food once the off-gassing of ammonia has stopped. Or, of course, you can spread the grass clippings or leaves (not plant stems) out thinly to completely dry, and then use them in the worm bin for bedding since they will be nearly pure carbon by then.  BTW, don't forget to occasionally add some grit, such as crushed egg shells or rock dust, for the worms to use in their gizzard for digesting their food.

Of course, that is just my experience, and your mileage may vary....

Unrelated side note: One thing I periodically do is ask the produce manager at the local grocery store if he has any spoiling cantaloupe, mangoes, avocados, etc., that I might have to feed the worms. Almost always get a box full.

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Post  has55 on 8/11/2020, 9:19 am

you can safely feed them Purina worm food till your confidence is established through your study. This is one site but you can find it in various sizes o the internet. Just follow the direction. 

purina worm chow


2nd Red Worm Composting sites is a wealth of free info.

Getting Started
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Post  p14shooter on 8/11/2020, 6:36 pm

thanks all. So they wont starve. And I will get some gold. I guess its a win win
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Post  p14shooter on 8/11/2020, 6:45 pm

and actually I just found what I was looking for as I was curious as to the composition of casting based on what they were fed. Not an extensive read as the study is not present but clears my mind on the matter. variety is key for the sfger
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Post  AtlantaTerry on 8/23/2020, 10:59 am

@p14shooter wrote:
I work in a grocery store so cardboard is not an issue.

Paul
 
Paul,

You just answered your own question. Since you work in a grocery store, just ask the produce manager to allow you to remove any veggies they are about to throw out. My local Kroger stores allow me to do it because it is a win-win situation for them.

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Post  p14shooter on 8/23/2020, 3:15 pm

Unfortunately Terry we have a policy against that.
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Post  OhioGardener on 8/23/2020, 3:17 pm

@p14shooter wrote:Unfortunately Terry we have a policy against that.

Do you mean that is a store policy, or is it some kind of regulation/law?

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Post  p14shooter on 8/23/2020, 3:25 pm

Company policy. Unfortunately
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Post  OhioGardener on 8/23/2020, 3:38 pm

@p14shooter wrote:Company policy. Unfortunately

That is an unfortunate waste of natural resources. Shame you can't take advantage of that waste that is headed for a landfill somewhere.

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Post  Kelejan on 8/23/2020, 6:29 pm

I used tp get lots of past dated vegetable and fruit produce from our local supermarket
until our local health people stopped it. I think it was partly dues to people actually going through the "best by date" and eating some of it which was quite understandable
as so much was really edible.

We also  used to get used coffee grounds from Starbucks and that got trashed as well. Sad That was store policy.

I should imagine that any food waste may have gone to the city compost depot to be mixed in with all the other garden waste that is collected and we citizens are allocated two bags per household.  We usually line up in our vehicles and collected it twice a year, but this year we are having it delivered and we get it by placing a piece of cloth, canvas, what have you, outside the road where we can, and wait for it.

The trouble whre I live is the we are last in the city to get anything done, so when the compost is delivered and all the squares removed, there are going to be little patches of almost dead grass that has to be brought to life again.

The city compost I would place where my flowers are, but not in the veggie beds.
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Post  sanderson on 9/2/2020, 4:34 am

AtlantaTerry! Hi there. happy hi Welcome back.

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